This has to stop. It has to. No matter how well I fake it, no matter how it feels when my daughter asks, “Do you think you’re pretty?” and I lie half a beat too slow but hopefully convincingly, “Of course!” I know that she has learned. So young, she has already learned.
My daughter has learned that I am not the perfect female. And part of her, a part she would never admit to, is ashamed.
My Daughter Frowns
My little girl likes it better when my hair is straight
and frowns when I wear a bikini
because I bear the scars of bearing her.
And she doesn’t know why or the battle that rages in my head
of “wear this” “the hottest trends” and “Mom jeans”
and “End Cellulite Today!”
“Stretch Marks Magically Disappear!”
or that I want to disappear when she frowns
and I turn back into a seven-year-old girl
and I want to shake her and hug her at the same time.
Because what she seeks in me is the
perfection that she sees everywhere.
The unattainable, airbrushed, flat ironed
salon and diet pills and plastic surgeon perfection.
And I have curly hair.
And I bear the marks of bearing her.
And she doesn’t know. She doesn’t see herself
through that filter. But it’s there. It’s in her mind already.
My perfect child will be ruined by a life seeking perfection.
Just like her mother.
And I know this already.
Because she likes me better when my hair is straight.
And she frowns when I wear a bikini.